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News

West Nile fogging commences today

West Nile fogging commences today


Courtesy of the Santa Clara County Vector Control District
Fogging commences Wednesday within the highlighted area.

The detection of West Nile Virus-infected mosquitos means that Santa Clara County officials will begin mosquito fogging operations...

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Schools

LASD trustees reopen negotiations with Los Altos Teachers Association

The Los Altos School District Board of Trustees last week directed staff to reopen negotiations with the Los Altos Teachers Association, a move intended to shore up the district’s financial picture.

According to the district’s current co...

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Community

LA teenager crowned Miss Golden State, advances to national pageant in Florida

LA teenager crowned Miss Golden State, advances to national pageant in Florida


Alicia Castro/Town Crier
Alexandra McCarthy, crowned Miss Golden State Teen in July, earned “Ms. Personality” honors from her peers.

Alexandra McCarthy has a ways to go before reaching her coveted role as a U.S. Supreme Court justice. Bu...

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Sports

After rough year, Eagles aim to soar once more

After rough year, Eagles aim to soar once more


Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
Los Altos High senior running back Patrick Vargas snares a pass in practice last week.

Don’t dismiss the Eagles. Coach Trevor Pruitt is adamant that his Los Altos High football team will be better than expected.

&#...

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Comment

Car spotting 2015: A Piece of My Mind

When I was a kid, September was exciting, almost like Christmas, because that was when the Big Three automakers would reveal the new models for the upcoming year.

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Special Sections

Loving on the Edge

Loving on the Edge


Courtesy of Ford
The Ford Edge has been redesigned for 2015. Ford lengthened the wheel base and added cargo space, among other things. The Titanium model sells for approximately $42,000.

Once in a while, a vehicle we test-drive is just right for our...

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Business

Wine bar aims for October opening

Wine bar aims for October opening


Rendering courtesy of Honcho
Honcho, the wine and beer lounge on First Street, expects an October launch. A rendering of the space reveals the interior layout, which includes bar and lounge-style seating.

A downtown libations lounge that anticip...

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People

LOIS CAROLINE WALLES

LOIS CAROLINE WALLES

November, 1928

Lois lost a long and courageous battle with a prolonged illness on July 14th, 2015. She passed away knowing how well she was loved. She was always the life of the party and loved bringing everyone to her home for dinner or an event,...

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Travel

Carmel Valley Ranch unveils upgrades

Carmel Valley Ranch unveils upgrades


Courtesy of Carmel Valley Ranch
Carmel Valley Ranch recently upgraded its Vineyard Oak suites, which feature sweeping views, rocking chairs and private outdoor tubs for soaking under the stars.

Things are heating up at Carmel Valley Ranch, with 30 n...

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Stepping Out

'Dead Man' comes alive at Bus Barn

'Dead Man' comes alive at Bus Barn


Richard Mayer/Special to the Town Crier
The cast of Los Altos Stage Company’s “Dead Man’s Cell Phone” includes, from left, Marjorie Hazeltine (as Hermia), Kristin Walter (Jean) and Adrienne Walters (Carlotta).

Los Altos Stage Company opens its ...

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Spiritual Life

Inside Mountain View

MV actress/playwright Garvin wins NY festival award for

MV actress/playwright Garvin wins NY festival award for "Corners Grove"


Courtesy of Undiscovered Countries
Kaela Mei-Shing Garvin received a New York arts festival award for a featured role in “Corners Grove,” a play she wrote.

New York recognized that one of Mountain View’s own can “make it there” when the Planet C...

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County sheriff Smith reviews long career, touts public-safety record


Smith

Santa Clara County Sheriff Laurie Smith has witnessed dramatic changes among female law enforcement officers over her more than 40-year career, an evolution she chronicled at a recent Rotary Club of Los Altos appearance.

Now seeking her fifth term in office, Smith, the first female sheriff in California, oversees 1,400 sworn officers and an annual budget of approximately $340 million. The California State Assembly named Smith its 2012 Woman of the Year.

In the 1970s, when sworn in at the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Department, Smith’s title was “matron,” because women were not allowed to serve as deputies at that time. She displayed for the Rotarians her outdated green uniform skirt and purse, complete with gun holster and handcuff pockets. In time, Smith said, the “ladies of the law” uniforms changed from skirts to pants, and their salaries rose from a rate that was 15 percent lower than male deputies’ pay.

She gave a nod to the early female deputies whose 1975 lawsuit and subsequent ruling from the Supreme Court reclassified them as “sheriff’s deputies” rather than “matrons.”

Quoting the law enforcement textbook she used while studying at San Jose State University, Smith read its 1960 text with a smile: “There is no evidence that the ladies of the law are about to take over police departments.”

The department’s jurisdiction covers all unincorporated areas, 73 percent of geographically widespread Santa Clara County, which includes Los Altos Hills and the Moffett Field area.

The department manages every aspect of law enforcement except traffic, which the California Highway Patrol oversees. Sheriff’s deputies, however, respond to crimes committed on highways and can also write speeding tickets.

Los Altos Hills, Cupertino and Saratoga contract for law enforcement with the Sheriff’s Department rather than staff their own local police departments. By consolidating three cities under one administration, Smith said law enforcement is managed well and in a much more cost-effective manner.

According to the FBI’s uniform crime reports, Saratoga is the No. 1 safest city in California. Los Altos, which has its own police department, is rated the second safest city and Cupertino the 12th.

The Santa Clara County sheriff also runs county jails, which house more than 4,000 inmates. When asked about the effect of inmates being transferred from state to county jails, Smith responded that nonviolent, nonsex and nonserious offenders now serve their sentences locally in their county of residence rather than in jail.

“But do not believe that crime rates are up because of this prison thing,” she said.

To combat the traditionally high recidivism rate – approximately 70 percent of those who commit crimes return to jail within three years – the Sheriff’s Department has established vocational training programs.

The Rotary Club of Los Altos meets 12:15 p.m. Thursdays in the Garden House at Shoup Park, 400 University Ave., Los Altos.

For more information, visit losaltosrotary.org.

Marlene Cowan is a member of the Rotary Club of Los Altos.

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